I don’t “let go.” Ever, really.
A lot of people make a big fuss trying to figure out how to “move on” from things, “get over things” etc. etc. etc.
I have come to realize, over time, that I just don’t DO this, when it comes to personal relationships, at least — to friendships, dating, whatever. People whom I appreciate, have appreciated, I always will, I think — until/unless they do something to make me distinctly NOT appreciate them anymore, or to make them into essentially a different person in my eyes, which very luckily for me, has not yet happened to me and hopefully never will.
And I don’t think this is a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s a distinctly good thing. I think it’s fantastic that I can still conjure up the likely response of my long-ago college boyfriend, for instance, to a conversation I might be having today (we often used to debate science vs. art, non-fiction vs. fiction, black and white vs. “the grey”, concrete vs. abstract, etc. etc.) — spending time with him gave me a new window on the world that I could carrry on with me, and have done so. Same goes for numerous other friends and others whom I have lost touch with over time but who challenged me, touched me, inspired me while we shared time together.
The people I have spent real time with in my life make up a huge part of who I am, and that’s true for everyone, I think… which is why I am definitely NOT one of those people who “wants to know nothing” about the past relationships of someone I am dating, who wants to pretend that they never existed. To the absolute contrary, I tend to be curious about them and utterly non-jealous (unless there are still open past love accounts, which is a different situation, obviously) — because if they really meant something, then they helped to make and shape the person I am spending time with now, and will always be part of that person.
Someone else has said this already, better than I could, and I couldn’t agree more with his view — I’m essentially just restating it, really.
“We ALL have baggage. Baggage helps us travel. We take it with us to prepare ourselves for our trips, to hold on to valuable keepsakes that meant something to us. You’d be crazy not to take baggage with you on a trip. You shouldn’t let it weigh you down, but don’t pretend you don’t have or need it, either.”